What Does Energy Efficiency Mean When It Comes to Replacement Windows?
These replacement windows are energy efficient…but what does that mean?
Energy efficiency is a hot topic these days. With the cost of energy bills and everyone’s mind on energy conservation, any energy efficient options that you can add to your home are an improvement. But when it comes to replacement windows, some might wonder what that means. How do your windows help you conserve energy, and how much will you save on energy bills? Let’s break down the different elements that make windows energy efficient.
The Right Materials
When someone describes a window as energy efficient, they’re mostly describing the seal of that window. Windows that are energy efficient allow less heat loss in the home and less air leakage overall, so your home stays comfortable using less energy. When your home uses less energy, your utility bills go down.
This can be achieved with the window materials. Vinyl, for instance, has long been a popular option because it’s affordable and has natural thermal resistance. However, vinyl doesn’t hold up in every climate. One of the best window materials if you’re going for energy efficiency, is fiberglass. The ultrex fiberglass used in fiberglass windows is the same material used in bridge construction, so it’s unbeatably tough. It lasts for decades and the seal is as tight as it can be.
The Right Fit
However, the best made window can fail in terms of energy efficiency if it’s an improper fit. Some windows may appear to fit, but small gaps between the space for the window and the window frame are causing drafts and heat loss. It’s important to find a replacement window contractor who custom fits windows to your needs, rather than using cookie cutter options. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to replacement windows.
The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) was put together to rate the energy efficiency of windows on a number of categories. When shopping for windows, you’ll almost certainly see an NFRC label with a few categories that will tell you about the energy efficiency of that window.
- U-Factor measures how well the window prevents heat loss. The lower the number, the better the window keeps heat from escaping the room. It ranges between .20 and 1.20.
- Solar Heat Gain Co-efficient (SHGC) measures the opposite: how well does the window keep heat out during the summer? The lower the number, the less heat the windows let in, ranging from 0-1.
- Visible Transmittance (VT) rates how much light the window lets in. In this case, you’re looking for higher numbers for more light. The scale runs from 0-1.
- Air Leakage (AL) describes how much cold air the windows let in during the winter. Again, you want lower numbers to denote less air leakage. These numbers run from 0.1-0.3.
The only question left to ask is: do you need energy efficient replacement windows in your home? If so, contact Jancewicz & Son today for a free quote.